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Copyright Information Point

Clarification of laws and regulations

Almost everyone has to deal with copyright law: when (re)using educational material, presentations, publications or when writing an essay. Find out here what regulations may affect you.


Information on copyright in relation to compiling readers, using audio and video, utilizing the ELO, Open Content and referencing.


Things you need to know before you start compiling

The reader arrangement

Stichting UvO

Rotterdam University has a reader arrangement with the UvO foundation. This arrangement allows teachers to borrow short quotations of text or images for inclusion in a reader, without the need to ask for permission. Of course this means you must abide by the rules. You can find the rules for short or longer quotations on this page or in the Copyright Check flowchart for educational materials

Short quotations

Rules for short quotations

When you share copyright protected texts or images with your students in a reader or learning management system there are rules to take into account. The sharing of short quotations is allowed through the reader arrangement. What the requirements of a short quotation are you can read here.

  1. Non-literary book: you may quote a maximum of 10.000 words, but no more than 1/3 of the whole book.
  2. Magazine, newspaper: a maximum of 8000 words, but no more than 1/3 of the entire issue.
  3. Literature: a maximum of 2500 words of prose, or a maximum of 100 lines of poetry, provided it's no more than 1/10 of the original work.
  4. Images (graphs, tables, diagrams, photos and illustrations) count as 200 words. You may quote up to 25 images from a source, with a maximum of 5 works by the same maker (e.g. photographer, illustrator). 
  5. Law texts or case law, compiled and edited by a publisher (including annotations): a maximum of 1 complete verdict, but no more than 1/3 of the whole published work. Exceptions: unredacted law texts and court judgments, "de Staatscourant", "het Staatsblad" and "het Tractatenblad" can be quoted without limitations. Other Dutch government publications can be freely quoted unless the work states that all rights are reserved.
  6. Linking is always allowed. You can always link to a publication that is legally accessible on the internet or link to a publication is available in the library's collection. If possible, use a permalink or DOI. 
  7. Don't compile, rather use one short quotation per file. If you combine several short quotations in one file or (digital) reader, you have to upload an author's copy to the UvO Webportal

    Take note: To determine whether a quotation is short, all words are counted. Every graph or picture is counted as 200 words individually. 

You can check the amount of words in an PDF using the Wordcounter of the UvO foundation. This will let you count words in PDF's up to 150 pages. Take note that images, tables or graphs will not be counted. Add these to the word total yourself (one image counts for 200 words).

Long quotations

Longer Quotations

If you need to exceed the limit for short quotations, you have a couple of options to do so.

1. Link

Linking to a legally accessible publication is free, easy and you don't need permission.

  1. Investigate whether a publication is legally accessible anywhere on the internet and use the link.
  2. If not, find out if a publication is available in the library's collection and link to it.
    Take note you create a link that doesn't expire and also works outside campus. For example, START shows a link button for each search result that you can use. Many other databases offer similar functionality for permanent links. Contact the library when you need help!

2. Asking for permission

When you want to use a long quotation in a reader or upload it to a Learning Management System, you need to request permission. The UvO foundation takes care of the collective copyright administration for higer education. Permission for longer quotations can be requested through the the UvO Webportal. The tariffs for long quotations can be found on the UvO Website. Contact the business office of your institute for access to the portal. Take note: Permissions for long quotations are valid only for the academic year, and number of students they were requested for. If you want to keep on using the long quotation beyond this term, submit a new request through the UvO Webportal.

Permission straight from the copyright holder(s)
Do you have permission for a long quotation straight from the copyright holder? Include written permission with the long quotation.  Are you the author of the publication? If sharing on LMS or in a reader is allowed depends on the publishing agreement. If a source has a Creative Commons license the maker has given permission for distributing the work. You may share this source in its entirety, reference the source and note the license. 

3. Studie Bijdehand

Whenever you supply (digital) readers through Studie Bijdehand, they will incorporate the copyright contributions for longer quotations. You can find more information on this at the Studie Bijdehand website.

Source reference is compulsory!

Prevent plagiarism

Both long and short copied fragments require a source reference in the reader. Using a reference style like APA is prefered but not mandatory here. For a book or e-book this means at least: Title, author and publisher. For a newspaper or magazine you must also mention the issue and volume number. If you're quoting an online source also note the URL.

Reference your sources in presentations
Also reference sources in presentations (PowerPoint, Prezi) placed on the learning management system. Reference the source of used images. You can do so on the slide itself, or by compiling references on a separate slide.  Of used images in presentations reference at least: Maker, title and publisher, if you're quoting an online source also note the URL. 

Example of source references on LMS:

  • Book: Author, Year, Title, Publisher.
    Ajay Bailey, Inge Hutter, 2010, Qualitative Research Methods, Sage Publications.
  • Article: Author, Year, Title, Publisher, Volume, Issue. (Add URL for online articles).
    M.d. Dooley, K. Sweeny, 2017, The Stress of Academic Publishing. Chronicle of Higher Education64(4), 2.
  • Website: Author, Title, Publisher, URL. 
    CBS, 2020. Evolution of the debt-to-GDP ratio,
  • Image: Cite the original source of the the image, for example a book or an article.
  • Image from website: Maker, Publisher, URL. 
    Ad van der Hulst.
  • Source licensed for reuse: Proctor Academy, 2012. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Audio & video

Rules for using audiovisual material during lessons

You are allowed to present a complete movie, audio work, or documentary for free and without permission, provided you adhere to the following requirements:

  • The presentation is for educational purposes and is part of the school programme.
  • The presentation takes place on the premises of the educational institution.
  • The presentation is for non-profit education only.
  • Streaming video or audio fragments from the internet is allowed. Downloading the material for playback later is not.

If you want to show a movie or documentary outside the premisses of the educational institution as part of a conference for example you need to ask for permission:

  • For movies you can agree on a licence at
  • For videos on Youtube : first you need to check whether the maker uploaded the movie himself and ask for permission. If not you need to find out who the original maker is and ask for permission.
  • For movies / series on Netflix : for movies / series from third parties shown on Netflix, you can agree on a licence at
    For movies / series from Netflix itself you need to ask permisson from Netflix.

Learning Management System

Guidelines for sharing


Reader arrangement

The reader arrangement also applies to the Learning Management System(s) of Rotterdam University. The rules for compiling a reader can be found above. Readers that fulfil these conditions may be placed on the LMS.

Audiovisual material

Regulations for putting audiovisual material on a Learning Management System

  • Preferably use Open Access material with a CC license. These have less strict requirements within the traditional copyright regulations. More information can be found at Open Content.
  • Linking or embedding is allowed when the material has been published legally (that is with permission of the creator).
  • Uploading a copy of a video to the LMS is only allowed when the copyright owner has given permission to do so.
  • Teachers can make use of the reader arrangement for educational purposes. This includes using copied pictures and text in presentations.  The requirements can be found at ‘Readers’.
  • Just as with text, sound an images may be quoted. When doing so, follow these rules:
    • The quoted material is used to support the content, not just for decoration or for fun.
    • Don't use more video or audio than needed to support your story. In practice this means using short fragments.
    • Images can be "quoted" in their entirety.
    • Quote only material that has been legally published (with authorization of the author).
    • Don't make any changes in the quoted picture or audio fragment.
    • Always make sure you cite your sources. For images mention the name of the author and where you found it. For internet pictures also mention the reference date. The citation can be placed as a footnote with the image, in the comments field of a presentation or bundled as a source reference. Optionally you can add the statement "this presentation contains no copyrighted material unless mentioned otherwise.  

Take note: when you can't meet these demands, a reasonable fee has to be paid to the copyright holders of the work you wish to share. When you have (written) permission from the copyright holder, include this declaration with the copied material that has been shared on the LMS.

Web lectures & screencasts

Pay attention to the following when sharing self-made web lectures or screencasts.

  • Are you using movie fragments, pictures or music from others? Keep in mind the regulations as described under Film & audio.
  • Cite your sources and mention it when you've obtained permission from the copyright holders.
  • Take the privacy guidelines into account. For questions regarding privacy and AVG contact the  Privacy information point of Rotterdam University.

Take note: When you want to make your web lectures or screen casts available publicly, the regular copyright laws apply.

Open Content

More freedom to share, download and (re)use

Types of Open Content

Open Access

Open Access is a broad, international academic development that strives for free online access to academic information, such as publications and data. A publication is Open Access when everyone can read, download, distribute, print and index the content.

More information on Open Access publishing

Open Science

Open Science is the pursuit of scholarship in such a way that others have the opportunity to participate in, contribute to and make use of the academic process. In this way, users 'from outside the field of academia' can influence the academic world with questions and help to collect ideas and research data.

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) is the open resource that you may use for teaching. Text, images, videos and complete course modules are available online and freely accessible. Have you found material that you want to use in your lesson? Then the next step is to find out exactly what you are permitted to do with this material according to copyright law.

How may you use open content?

Copyright and Open Content

Have you found material you would like to use? Then the next step is to find out exactly what you are permitted to do with this material according to copyright law.

Creative Commons

Most Open Content has a Creative Commons license. Artists, writers, academics, and all other creators can choose to assign their work a Creative Commons license. This license allows you increased flexibility in dealing with copyright. There are several Creative Commons licenses from which the creator can choose. The license determines the extent to which a work may be further distributed, under what conditions it may be distributed, and whether it is permitted to edit it. For example, if material has a CC-BY license then you may do anything with the material provided you mention the name of the creator. Material with a CC-BY-NC-ND license can only be shared (non-commercially), including the name of the creator, nothing else may be changed. So before you (re)use ‘Creative Commons’ material please check under which license it falls. On the Creative Commons website you can see exactly what the different licenses mean.

Public Domain

Work in the public domain is not subject to copyright. You may use these works freely, for any purpose, without permission and without any obligation to cite the source or author. In Europe works enter the public domain 70 years after the author has died. In case the creator is unknown, or the copyright is owned by a company or organization, the copyright expiration date is 70 years after the first publication. In the Netherlands many government publications are also in the public domain. Examples are laws, regulations and court orders.
Creative Commons also has a license equivalent to public domain which is the CC-0 license.

Where can you find the license?

In most cases a license is included with the material. If you cannot find a license, the material is copyrighted. This means that you may not reuse it without the permission of its creator. Linking to the material is permitted, however. More information on the sharing of works on the Digital Learning Environment can be found in the Readers section. Please contact us for help and support.

Source references

Always mention the source of material you (re)use. On the Creative Commons Wiki you will find examples of source references for Open Content, there is also a separate explanation about referencing in APA format.

Where can you find Open Content?

Search for Open Content

Any kind of creative work can be made available as Open Content. Below you will find tips on how to find these materials. Attention! Always check the conditions for (re)use of material that you find. In the section 'How can you use open content' you will find more information about this topic.

There are various photo stock sites, image repositories and archives on the internet that (also) contain open content. Often you can search for, or filter content that allows reuse without restrictions.

  • CC Search : Search through various sources for open content media files.
  • Google Images : After entering your search query, click on "Tools" and set "Usage rights" to "Labelled for Reuse".
  • Google Advanced Search: gives your the option to filter by usage rights.
  • LetsCC : Images, sound and video.

Open Educational Resources

Using Open Educational Resources can save you a lot of time when putting together your lesson. Perhaps another lecturer has already created beautiful, online material based exactly on your subject. There are various types of open educational resources, for example, videos, complete online courses, or "open textbooks". There are search engines specifically for finding digital educational resources; in some cases they also assess the quality of the material. Below we have listed a selection of search engines you can use to find these materials.


  • Mediasite – video platform of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • YouTube Learning – Educational YouTube section
  • TED Ed – Educational section of TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design)
  • Videolectures Net (multidisciplinary)


Complete courses

  • Mediasite – video platform of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • YouTube Learning – Educational section of YouTube
  • TED Ed – Educational section of TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design)
  • Videolectures Net (multidisciplinary)


Share your own educational material

In addition to using educational materials created and shared by others, you can also share materials you have developed. The advantage of exchanging educational resources is that you can collaborate more easily, even outside of your organisation. You contribute to an improvement in quality and a wider choice of educational resources for students and lecturers. This visibility and accessibility will increase the recognition of your work.

In order to be able to share your teaching material, it must meet a number of requirements:

  • Others must be able to read and edit the material. Consider your language, the form and content
  • It complies with the copyright rules for open learning material
  • It has a license with permission for reuse. Please choose a CC license (preferably CC by or CC by SA).

Would you like your educational resource to be retrievable nationally/internationally via the SURF Search portal (BETA)? If so, please contact us so that we can include your work in the repository of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

More information about developing and sharing open learning material can be found on the SURF website under the heading 'Introduction to open educational resources'.


in your own publications

When you do research for your publication, for example an article, book or thesis, you make use of existing literature and other information sources. Using texts and ideas from others is allowed, provided you cite the original (information) source.

Our Literature research guide explains how you do this.

Go to the Literature research guide

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